In a shocking turn of events, there are actually a ton of movies I’m excited for this summer. In years past, I’ve struggled to round out to an even 10. This year, however, I’m expanding to 15 titles that have a lot of potential, even if most of them are recycled IP.
Avengers: Endgame (April 26)
Starring Robert Downey Jr, Chris Evans, Brie Larson, Scarlett Johansson
Screenplay by Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely
Directed by Anthony & Joe Russo
I’m not concerned with them whiffing the ending of this 22-film deep saga. I’m more concerned with them not cheapening the already cheapened experience of Infinity War, which undercut its gutsy cliffhanger by offing characters we know will be back for future movies (including one that opens later this summer). By limiting the footage we’ve seen in the trailers and ads (including curiously few shots of Mark Ruffalo), they’re doing a good job of keeping the mystery up. Now they just have to solve it. Well, that and the mystery of Jeremy Renner’s hairstyles.
Long Shot (May 3)
Starring Charlize Theron, Seth Rogen, June Diane Raphael, O’Shea Jackson Jr.
Screenplay by Liz Hannah, Dan Sterling
Directed by Jonathan Levine
I was a bit skeptical of this rom-com – about the Secretary of State (Theron) falling for her speechwriter (Rogen) – until the glowing reviews came in from SXSW. Granted, some of those opinions may have been influenced by alcohol and a free concert by Boyz II Men. Still, their chemistry seems genuine and Jonathan Levine needs a win after his last few projects were a bit compromised.
John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum (May 17)
Starring Keanu Reeves, Halle Berry, Jason Mantzoukas, Ian McShane
Screenplay by Derek Kolstad
Directed by Chad Stahelski
By far the sequel I’m most excited for this summer. Keanu Reeves’ re-emergence as an action star has been exciting to see. Plus, they’ve figured out how to top the incredible stunts of the first two films: Put Keanu on a damn horse.
Booksmart (May 24)
Starring Caitlyn Dever, Beanie Feldstein, Billie Lourd, Jason Sudeikis
Screenplay by Susanna Fogel, Emily Halpern, Sarah Haskins, Katie Silberman
Directed by Olivia Wilde
The reductive view is that is just Superbad for ladies. But even if it is that? That means it’s going to be an amazing comedy. Dever and Feldstein have been stealing scenes for years. Now they get to strut their stuff and carry their own film.
Godzilla: King of the Monsters (May 31)
Starring Millie Bobby Brown, Vera Farmiga, Kyle Chandler, Bradley Whitford
Story by Max Borenstein and Michael Dougherty & Zach Shields
Screenplay by Michael Dougherty & Zach Shields
Directed by Michael Dougherty
I was underwhelmed with Gareth Edwards’ 2014 reboot, despite its impressive cinematography. A clear example of the “awesome trailer, OK movie.” Somehow, I’m all in on this sequel, which introduces all of Godzilla’s foes at once, and features a murderer’s row of TV all-stars, including Charles Dance (Game of Thrones), Thomas Middleditch (Silicon Valley) and CCH Pounder (The Shield).
Dark Phoenix (June 7)
Starring Sophie Turner, Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender
Screenplay by Simon Kinberg
Directed by Simon Kinberg
I might be alone on my island here, but I’m still excited to see how the Fox era of the X-Men wraps up. Yes, this series has had a lot of ups and downs (and a lot of Bryan Singer), but if you think I’m going to miss the finale of my favorite comic book team, featuring my favorite actress as the villain, you’re crazy.
Toy Story 4 (June 21)
Starring the voices of Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Annie Potts, Keanu Reeves
Screenplay by Stephany Folsom
Directed by Josh Cooley
Toy Story 3 was the perfect final chapter, but everything I’ve seen thus far has me excited that this isn’t just a shameless cash grab. This new film (and what I imagine will be several sequels) will belong to a younger generation, but people my age and older will have plenty to enjoy as well, including the additions of Keanu Reeves and Key & Peele.
Yesterday (June 28)
Starring Himesh Patel, Lily James, Kate McKinnon, Ana de Armas
Story by Jack Barth
Screenplay by Richard Curtis
Directed by Danny Boyle
This very silly plot – a struggling singer-songwriter wakes up one day to learn the Beatles never existed, but he still knows all their music – is the kind of unapologetic corniness that Richard Curtis can spin into gold. And with a better director (Oscar winner Danny Boyle), this might be the international crowd-pleaser of the summer.
Spider-Man: Far from Home (July 2)
Starring Tom Holland, Zendaya, Jake Gyllenhaal, Samuel L. Jackson
Screenplay by Chris McKenna & Erik Sommers
Directed by Jon Watts
Tom Holland is the first Spider-Man to actually feel like you’re watching a teenager. He’s also a little overeager, compared to the shy Peters played by Tobey Maguire and the underrated Andrew Garfield. This is the other, more family-friendly European vacation gone wrong, as a class trip runs afoul of Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal).
Midsommar (July 3)
Starring Florence Pugh, Will Poulter, William Jackson Harper, Jack Reynor
Written and directed by Ari Aster
Ari Aster shocked Sundance, then the rest of the world, with his horrifying family drama Hereditary. There’s no telling what disturbing images he’ll conjure up for this tale of a European vacation gone wrong, but I better see Chidi get vivisected or what is even the point?
Once upon a Time in Hollywood (July 26)
Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, Al Pacino
Written and directed by Quentin Tarantino
Tarantino’s 9th film touches on almost every wild aspect of Tinseltown in the 1960s. But personally, I’m just excited for him to reunite with DiCaprio. He’s one of the few directors to unleash Leo’s wild knack for physical comedy.
Hobbs & Shaw (August 2)
Starring Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Idris Elba, Vanessa Kirby
Screenplay by Chris Morgan
Directed by David Leitch
I’ve seen exactly two Fast and Furious movies: the original, a dumb-as-shit Point Break knockoff; and Fast Five, an excellent and absurd heist movie. I’ve had virtually no interest in any of the other films, until now. This spin-off features two of our best action stars in a bonkers globe-trotting adventure directed by David Leitch (Deadpool 2, Atomic Blonde). They’re not even trying to be realistic here, with Idris Elba’s bionic villain dubbing himself “Black Superman.”
The Kitchen (August 9)
Starring Melissa McCarthy, Tiffany Haddish, Elisabeth Moss, Domhnall Gleeson
Written for the screen and directed by Andrea Berloff
We haven’t yet gotten a trailer, but this graphic novel adaptation from Andrea Berloff (Straight Outta Compton) looks right up my alley. The three ladies here play the wives of New York mob bosses who try to grab that power for themselves after they men are killed.
Where’d You Go, Bernadette? (August 9)
Starring Cate Blanchett, Troian Bellisario, Billy Crudup, Kristen Wiig
Written for the screen by Richard Linklater & Holly Gent & Vince Palmo
Directed by Richard Linklater
The trailer didn’t impress me that much, but Richard Linklater has been on such a roll that I can’t imagine he’s going to blow it now. Cate Blanchett plays the Bernadette, the mom who disappears one day, leaving her daughter (Troian Bellisario) and husband (Billy Crudup) to unravel the mystery. Based on the best-selling novel.
Blinded by the Light (August 14)
Starring Viveik Kalra, Kulvinder Ghir, Meera Ganatra, Aaron Phagura
Written by Paul Mayeda Berges, Gurinder Chadha, Sarfraz Manzoor
Directed by Gurinder Chadha
A big hit at Sundance, this British dramedy is about a Pakistani immigrant in 80s London who finds meaning in Bruce Springsteen’s music. It got a huge pick-up not from some indie shingle, but from Warner Bros. proper. That means they’ve got major faith in its crowd-pleasing appeal. But director Gurinder Chadha knows a thing or two about those. She directed the still-entertaining Bend It Like Beckham.